The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday in Abuja constituted a 49-member campaign committee for the November 26 governorship poll in Ondo state.
The committee has nine governors, nine ministers, former governors and members of the National Assembly, including the Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives.
Inaugurating the committee at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja, National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, said the committee had the big challenge of delivering Ondo to the APC.
”We deliberately made this committee large because we have very little time within which to work,” he said. “It was made so that it will be possible to handle well the various activities that need to be undertaken.”
”I am glad about the number of governors, ministers and legislators who have gladly undertaken to perform this challenging responsibility.
”I call it challenging because of the special circumstances that have brought us to this point today, otherwise, Ondo state is ripe for the taking and ripe to be added to the APC progressive family.
”The challenge I am passing on to you today is the obvious challenge that arose at the primary. But, I trust that you and your team will overcome those difficulties and deliver Ondo to the APC family,” Mr. Odigie-Oyegun said.
The APC in Ondo state had been embroiled in crisis following the emergence of Rotimi Akeredolu as its candidate for the election.
The chairman of the party in the state, Isaac Kekemeke, was at a point suspended after 25 gubernatorial aspirants petitioned the national chairman against him.
It also led to the recent spat between the national chairman and a party chieftain, Bola Tinubu.
Admitting that the election would not be easy, Mr. Odigie-Oyegun said, ”In Edo, it was difficult and not a walk-over; it was a tough election and a difficult election.
”This also will not be a walk-over. It will be a tough and difficult election, but we will win.
“At the higher level, we are already doing things to bring the contending interests together and restore Ondo state to the progressive family.
”We want the people of Ondo state to know that the day of redemption has come and by the grace of God, we shall triumph.”
Accepting the challenge, the Chairman of the campaign committee, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau, assured the gathering of his confidence to secure victory for the party at the poll.
Speaking to journalists after the inaugural meeting, Mr. Lalong said he would involve everyone, including Mr. Tinubu, in the reconciliation.
”I’m going to talk about reconciliation. Asiwaju is a national leader, he’s a key factor to the government both in Nigeria and the party.
”So, when we talk about reconciliation even if he was not involved, wherever you are going to talk about reconciliation, you must consider him as a factor in the election.
”What we are talking about is all hands must be on deck, not one person; everybody must be involved just like they did in Edo.
”We were all involved that was how we won Edo. In this case, we see the same thing happening.
”At the end of the day it’s the interest of the party and the interest of the nation. All of them will come,” he said.
In a vote of thanks, the governorship candidate, Akeredolu, said that the party won during the last presidential election by 54 per cent and had no reason not to win the gubernatorial election.
He said that the contest would be between APC and PDP, adding “and we will win’’. (NAN)